Las Monedas, Spain. Horse and falling bison. Here we see a new use made of a cornice, with the narrow band along the edge carrying a frieze of black animals. On the far left, the muzzle and forequarters of a bison can be seen; it appears to be falling backward toward the rocky hollow. On a more important area is the sketch of a black horse, with the beginning of modeling toward the start of tail and to a greater extent on the chest. The head, how
Cueva de Altamira: The Great Hall. Brown and black bison. (Bison in bistre with black strokes) 11/7 This bison (6 feet in length, Abbe' Breuil's #21) stands solidly on the ceiling. A faded bistre dominates the figure, whose deterioration can be compared with 8/2, the galloping wild boar. Here the mane and dewlap are executed first in fine engraved lines, and then in bands of black. These zebra-like stripes are even more clearly marked on the rum
Cueva de Altamira: The Great Hall. Archaic red ibex. 11/11 Before the front hooves of the large red horse seen in 11/9 this graceful small ibex is situated; its bearing a little stiff, it is clearly of the Aurignaco-Perigordian period. We can make out an effect -- if quite faint -- of stippling, to achieve the line: a seeming transition between the broken line and true linear drawing. There is a strong affinity between this ibex and beautiful head
Cueva de Altamira. The Galleries. Black quadrille design. (Black rectangles.) 15/11 This is an interesting and important series of enigmatic signs, giving a checkered effect within more or less curvilinear outlines. It occupies the remote depths of the last gallery of Altamira.
These signs were termed "tectiform" by Abbe' Bruil, that is, in the shape of a roof. But one might see in them gates, traps, shields, nets, screens, and so forth. The tw
Cueva de Altamira. Polychrome Bison with turned head. 8/5 This is a particularly evocative example of the master artistry of Altamira. Elsewhere we have found that a rocky hump can readily have prefigured a bison in a crouching position, ready to spring, or to roll over (3/12). That is the simple and direct utilization of a natural relief. Here we find a technique which is far more sophisticated. The bison in this slide is developed between two
Cueva de Altamira. Wild boar running. ?/2 This is one of the most truly classical and celebrated works of Quaternary art. Catalogued as #22 by Abbe' Breuil, it measures 21 3/4" in length. It is the first painting to be seen on entering the Great Hall, to the left of the entrance hall. Relative proximity to outside air has had its effect on the painting. This galloping wild boar, expressing power and movement, is a masterpiece of naturalist anima
Cueva de Altamira. Crouching bison. 3/12 These polychrome bison of Altamira make their presence felt strongly. A number of them are situated on the convexities of the Great Ceiling. Thus they acquire a seeming relief, often extending 20" which is intensified by expert use of colors for modeling. The reliefs doubtlessly suggested the bison in the first place, but the bison in turn give the relief an obsessive kind of reality.
Cueva de Altamira. Hind. 8/8 This beautiful deer is the largest image on the Altamira ceiling Catalogued as #1 by Abbe' Breuil, it is 7'4 3/4" in length. It is enthroned in the area farthest from the entrance and is turned in that direction.
The perfection of technique here is evident. We see it in the precision of the black lines and the expert quality of the modeling in red, both of which underscore the calm elegance of the pose. Whatever expl
Cueva de Altamira. Relief as an animal's head. 15/9 Accidents of nature attract attention and excite the imagination. Contemporary visitors to the caves, in the presence of concretions admire a "steeple" or a "pagoda." Prehistoric men, on the other hand, saw in these haphazard shapes animals familiar to them. Readily they "retouched" the rock or heightened it with black lines to emphasize reality.
La Pasiega: The Gallery. Spain. Ill-proportioned horse. This sketch is artictically far from the elegant proportions of the red hind (22/1), even if both belong to the same chronological phase. All artistic treatment is evidently the function of its creator, of his more or less adroit pencil, of his more or less true vision. And clumsiness, as a human characteristic, has no chronolical restriction. Here we are looking at the sketch of a horse, bu
Le Tuc D'Adoubert, France. Bison in clay. In the course of exploring a subterranean river in the Ariége, Max Begouën and his two brothers discovered the Tuc d' Audoubert in 1912. In the middle of a hall situated some 700 yards form the entrance, after a long, narrow and difficult passage, are two bison modeled in clay, the male following the female. This sculptured couple is witness to the magical rites of fecundity, whose purpose it was to assure
Le Portel, France. Ithyphallic design. 2/2 The genesis of this human figuration, done in very rough treatment (it belongs to an early phase of the Aurignaco-Perigordian cycle), carries a strong psychological interest. A stalagmitic relief at right angles to the wall was apparently endowed with a symbolic meaning. This appendage was created a human silhouette, its neck well indicated, its face turned to the left, given life by a finely done eye. T